Picture this, you’re walking in the park, minding your own business when suddenly a dog comes up to you and starts barking. You start to panic because there is no reason for this dog to be barking at you.
Why is this dog barking?
Dogs bark because we humans want our dogs to bark. For years our domestication process and selective breeding has allowed our dogs to develop their barking abilities. Wolves don’t bark, so through genetic engineering and the selective breeding process, dogs these days have the ability to retain juvenile characteristics. This is through the process known as neoteny.
Humans have chosen to retain the infantile traits of wolves like large heads, flat faces, large eyes and of course the ability to communicate, barking. Barking was further developed in dogs in order to scare intruders or to help the master out (i.e. on farms to assist in gathering the sheep).
Most dogs simply bark to communicate, to get attention, or simply to show their excitement. Training and lifestyle are important factors in teaching the dog how to communicate with its master.
Dogs are extremely social animals. Wolves themselves always travel in packs are usually never alone. Bringing a dog into your family is basically like bringing a wolf into a pack. It becomes a part of the family. Try not to leave it alone otherwise it will feel as if it was abandoned by the pack. Dogs are like having a baby in the house.
They need love, attention, and someone to be there to take care of them. Like people they need a companion to blossom. Meeting your dog’s emotional need for companionship and play will allow the two of you to form a strong bond together.
Sometimes having a second dog in the house can minimize the barking and minimize the loneliness. Although this may be rewarding at some times, it can also be a pain. Your best bet would be to maximize training of your dog when it decides to bark. Sometimes having two dogs may cause havoc because they may teach each other to bark more. From the example above, dogs who bark at people are trained in a specific way.
Everything boils down to how the owner trains their dog. If you reward the dog for barking, then the dog will understand that it’s a good thing to bark. If you don’t reward the dog for barking, the dog will understand that it’s a bad thing to bark. If you are training your dog to become a watchdog, sometimes their barking can be very selective and discriminating with certain people. Sometimes they may just bark at anything they see. It is important to train these dogs by developing their intelligence level and how they interpret various events.
Dogs who simply bark because of activity or excitement are relatively hard to eliminate. Most of the time these dogs are unaware of their barking and in turn becomes a process that is hard to eliminate. You must turn to a dog trainer who teaches the dog to debark.
Debarking can be somewhat inhumane because the dog is trained to let out a low, raspy bark which cannot be heard from more than a few feet away. If you consider the process of debarking your dog you must weigh the pros and cons. It can be beneficial in the sense that your dog will no longer be the irritating dog on the block who barks at anything he sees but may be a problem if the dog is in danger. As an owner you would want to know where the location of your dog was if it was in danger.
About the author
Cindy Frendo runs her own puppy training and dog training school from her hometown of Ottawa, Canada. She also runs her own website at eXtreme Dog Fence.